Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city Amaravati exactly two years ago, not a single brick has been laid for the development of the capital so far.
Over the last three years, timelines had been set and reset for the capital, but the construction process has not even crossed the designing stage.
The Chief Minister’s Office Real-time Executive dashboard says, till date, 2,27,100 people have donated 56,66,596 ‘bricks’ (Rs 10 per brick) for building the capital city.
It was on October 25, 2014, that the Chandrababu Naidu government had announced that the new capital city would be constructed within five years, but three years have since elapsed with only the ‘temporary’ structures of the Secretariat and Legislature to show.
On October 9 last year, Naidu had written an open letter to the people of the state promising to give a “definite shape” to Amaravati “by Vijaya Dasami next year” (that fell on September 30 this year).
However, not even the 18.3-km main seed access road that leads to the capital has been completed till date.
In fact, the government announced in February this year that the capital construction will begin in July and be completed by December 2018.
Municipal Minister P Narayana, on February 2, had given specific dates for the works: “Construction of the Secretariat will start on May 10 and be completed on December 25, 2018.
“Building of the Legislature complex will commence on July 20 and completed by October 4, 2018 and the High Court works will begin on August 17 and completed on April 3, 2019.”
On March 25, 2016, the Andhra Pradesh government selected Maki Associates as the master architect for Amaravati (Administrative City), but vacillated till December before scrapping the contract.
Britain’s Foster+ Partners was subsequently chosen as the master architect and fresh timelines were set for the construction of the capital.
Foster+ Partners was supposed to submit its master plan and designs in April this year.
It indeed completed its task, though a couple of months late. However, the chief minister “approved” the designs one day and found them “not impressive” another day.
And, with Chandrababu insisting that “Baahubali” director Rajamouli’s “inputs” be taken for the designs, the entire process is being re-done now.
“When we are building a world-class capital city, things cannot happen in a haste. Hence, the delay in the works,” Principal Secretary (Infrastructure and CRDA) Ajay Jain said.
In fact, the chief minister himself has also been claiming in the recent days that they were “in no hurry” since they were going to build “one of the top five cities in the world”.
The government of India has so far released Rs 1,500 crore for the construction of government buildings, like the Secretariat, High Court, Legislature complex and Raj Bhavan in Amaravati, but the state apparently spent the money on “other purposes”.
Since it had to submit utilisation certificates to the Centre for the money already released, the state government has shown the temporary Secretariat and Legislature buildings as the actual structures.
“These buildings (temporary Secretariat and Legislature) are also part of the capital. So, we have utilised the (Centre’s) money on them,” Narayana justified.
But now, the state has been searching for funds to build the actual Secretariat and Legislature, which could cost more than Rs 1,000 crore.
For over a year and a half now, the government has been claiming that the World Bank “agreed in principle” to lend USD one billion for capital development, but not a single dollar has actually been sanctioned till date.
The Municipal Minister, however, denied that funds crunch was holding up the capital construction.